I

niciativa para la

R

ecuperación del

I

dioma

N

áhuat

~International

 

the

 

Nawat

 

language

 

recovery

 

initiative

IRIN-International     

TIT

 

Home page

 

Nawat:

v      The Nawat language

v      Grammar

v      Vocabulary

v      Conversation

v      Texts

v      Song

 

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v      IRIN

v      TIT

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v      We need you!

v      Come in and say hello!

v      Visitors’ comments

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The Nawat language recovery initiative:

 

v      The recovery plan

v      Nawat goes to school

v      Inside NNT

v      Nawat for adults

v      Linguistic work on Nawat

v      Other objectives

 

The TIT logo: an image formed from the three letters to depict a burning flame. Tit is the Nawat word for ‘fire’. The name Tajkwiluyan Ipal ne Taketzalis simply means, literally, ‘office of (or for) the language’, and TIT’s mission is to help to keep the fire of Nawat alight! The colour of the flame in the logo could also represent the colour of the earth, the clay that the kumal and other traditional pottery is made of, or the typical colour of a Pipil’s complexion. The TIT logo was created by Carlos Cortez and incorporates ideas suggested by Alan King and Claudia Hernández.

 

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The Office For the Nawat Language: TIT

 

Tajkwiluyan Ipal ne Taketzalis (the office for the Nawat language), or TIT for short, is located in Itzalku (Izalco in Spanish), historical capital of the Pipils of El Salvador, where TIT began functioning in January 2004.

 

How TIT got started

 

The idea for TIT grew out of the Universidad Don Bosco’s Nawat textbook project. The university is located in Soyapango, outside the present-day Nawat region, and for purely practical reasons the project began by operating out of the capital, San Salvador. However, from the very start the UDB project had declared that it was necessary to involve the Pipils centrally in the project and make them protagonists of their own language recovery process.

 

Thus it was a logical move to open up the project’s own office in Itzalku. This move was anticipated by the holding of the project’s first Nawat teacher training course in November-December 2003 in the TIT’s future premises. In January 2004 three staff members of the newly-formed TIT set up shop in an upstairs room of the Izalco House of Culture.

 

TIT’s goals for 2004

 

The UDB project is part of a broader plan of language recovery for Nawat going beyond the mere production of school textbooks. Consequently, TIT likewise has broader goals, which were summed up for the medium term by the new TIT team in the following general list of 2004 goals:

 

§         Production of Nawat school textbooks (UDB project).

§         Assessment of pilot schools (UDB project).

§         Further training for pilot school Nawat teachers (UDB project).

§         Recruitment of further schools into the Nawat program for 2005 (UDB project).

§         Training course for new Nawat teachers (UDB project).

§         Production of a Nawat textbook for adult learners (Tejemet Nusan program).

§         Organise and support local adult Nawat courses in the Pipil area (Tejemet Nusan program).

§         Coordinate and support Nawat linguistic fieldwork (Seminario Lingüistico de Náhuat).

§         Linguistic projects (Seminario Lingüístico).

§         Encourage and support the formation of local Nawat support committees.

§         Incorporate additional Pipil towns into existing projects, programs and activities.

§         Nawat publications.

§         Public relations.

§         International contacts.

§         Develop support and volunteer networks.

§         Develop a general Nawat website.

§         Build the basis of a Nawat library and archives.

§         Offer a university-level Nawat course.

§         Report on activities.

§         Obtain funding.

§         Internal in-service training of TIT staff.

 

In addition, TIT plans to act as a much-needed general-purpose Nawat language resource centre serving Nawat speakers, students and teachers of Nawat, the Pipil communities and the interested public in general.

 

Who finances TIT?

 

Outside the TIT office

 

Inside the TIT office

The proposal to open an Izalco office of the UDB textbook project was made in the context of intentions to incorporate an additional project assistant; plans were subsequently modified to include two new assistants.

 

When these posts had already been appointed and plans begun to open TIT, it was learnt that no funding is available for any assistants this year. It is also not known whether funds will be provided to equip the TIT office or for the project’s budgetary needs. In spite of these difficulties, work at TIT has commenced as planned and will continue for as long as alternative funding can be obtained to keep work going, thanks to the self-sacrifice, dedication and determination of the TIT staff and others involved in the Nawat movement.

 

Thus, at the present time TIT’s resources consist of premises and infrastructure being lent by the House of Culture of Izalco, and a salary for the office’s coordinator and director of the Nawat textbook project of the Universidad Don Bosco, Alan King. The most likely way forward for providing the rest of TIT’s budget, including office equipment and salaries for its two assistants, is funding through IRIN.

 

Meet the TIT team!

 

Alan King, TIT coordinator

Alan King: British-born linguist, TIT coordinator and project director:

Before coming to El Salvador I spent 24 years working in favour of the Basque language movement, also getting to know fairly well several other minority languages from Europe to the Pacific. Now I am trying to put whatever I have learnt at the service of Nawat, ‘my’ first native American language, which is in a situation much worse (even) than that of any other living language I have studied. Even so, I have found some reason for optimism and believe that something can be done for Nawat still. Whether something will be done is a different matter. It depends on people, not just on the language. If Nawat dies out it will be because of the negligence of Nawat speakers, or of the rest of the world by not helping them, but more likely the latter.

 

Carlos Cortez,

TIT assistant

Carlos Cortez: A young Pipil from Witzapan, who is still learning the language from his 99-year-old grandmother:

It’s important for me to be here, not only as a Pipil but as a Salvadorean; not only as my response to the 1932 massacre but because Nawat is one of El Salvador’s native languages and, as such, should not be the object of persecution by a Salvadorean government but of its protection; and not only because of my love for the language of my parents and grandparents and my wish to work for and dedicate my life to its recovery but, furthermore, because of the respect that I owe to my ancestors.

 

Cecy de Méndez, TIT assistant

Cecy de Méndez, native of Itzalku, retired schoolteacher, veteran Nawat student and instructor, coordinator of Tejemet Nusan, one of the founders of IRIN and now its secretary.

 

 

© 2004 Alan R. King, Monica Ward and IRIN.